Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Things That Made Me Happy....

in my comics this week.

  • The Penguin's "hot tub".
  • Happy to know Hal gets as fed up with that stupid oath as much as I do.
  • The Joker bitch-slapping Lex Luthor.
  • Tim Wayne. I wondered whether they'd ever go there.
  • Roy Raymond Junior. Look it up, kids!
  • Will Pfeiffer introducing a cigar in the first act and firing it in the third.
  • The first page of Incredible Hercules (and many of the ones that follow, too).
  • Name-checking Chloe Sullivan and Perry's frank evaluation of the interview scene from Superman: The Movie.
  • So, Mr. Virgil is a guide to the underworld of popular culture, eh?
  • Thanks to Robin and Gotham Underground, the Penguin's seeming more and more like himself these days. Classy; intelligent; strategic; phlegmatic. Let's just hope Wizkids does him justice by listening to their play-testers, who're already complaining that the Heroclix figure of him in autumn's Rogues Gallery set is still unplayable.
  • Ray, that is not a kilt. It's a sleeveless mini-dress with a built-in belt. How can you have lived with Jean Loring all those years without knowing that?
  • I love that the first two paragraphs of Catwoman do double-duty as metafictive commentary to the reader... .
  • So, Megistus wasn't really much more than a poor man's Dr. Alchemy?
  • "Lexoskeleton"? That's hilarious.
  • Vandal Savage, player.
  • "I never tried to cash in." Yeah, that made me laugh. Wally West, who ran superspeed errands for pay in Flash 1. Wally West, who left Keystone to become the hired resident superhero of a California town. Wally West, who on JLU used to do commercial endorsements. Nice try, Tom!
  • Jimmy Olsen bitch-slapping Darkseid. With a bridge.
  • Yeah, how does the freezy breath work?
  • Paragon's simple and ingenious method for stopping three angry Daxamite zealots.
  • The Penguin's method for handling Tobias Whale.
  • As a classicist, I love that Hercules gets misidentified and attacked because of a mistranslation.
  • Hm. A mind-controlling villain named "Spin" in the Flash? That certainly is familiar, isn't it?
  • How glorious is it that this week's entire issue of Catwoman is synopsized in one word in Salvation Run this week?
  • Wow; okay, that is definitely a Galactic Golem.
  • I would love to watch The Invisible Man Out West.
  • Did YOU figure out Superman's Clever Kryptonite Ploy? I'm proud to say I did.
  • Tim Drake's hair. I just love Tim Drake's hair.
  • Okay, did Huntress just throw a Cheetah wanna-be in front of a hail of bullets?
  • The intimation that being on Salvation Run is beginning to drive the Joker sane.
  • Kurt Busiek showing situations that give Superman ideas for broader projects to aid humanity, like the Library of Arctic Alexandria.
  • I like Slam Bradley's foe; who is he?
  • I think including "robot" and "polka" on the list made that question much too easy.
  • Legion of SuperHeroes in the 31st Century No. 13 is the Best You Comic You Probably Won't Buy This Week.
  • Lex Luthor makes an Atlantic Monthly joke. In the middle of a fight.
  • Finally, someone's addressing "Where does Wally West's money come from?" In fact, I like what Tom Peyer's doing in this month's Flash generally.
  • Only Clark Kent would apologize for getting buried under rubble.
  • I guess I have to enjoy Darkseid being dead as long as it lasts.


Anonymous said...

Wally West, who left Keystone to become the hired resident superhero of a California town.

To be fair, Wally didn't exactly "leave" Keystone. He was run out by the city government who were tired of cleaning up after super-battles.

Brian said...

Freezy breath works like a thermodynamic engine. Consider the ideal gas law:


Superman inhales with his supernaturally strong diaphragm, vastly increasing the pressure inside his lungs (or whatever analog he has). But, given that his entire cellular structure is built around shuffling energy around, he defuses the heat almost immediately, cooling the air in his lungs to body temperature. then he exhales, and the explosive decompression results in a corresponding decrease in temperature.

It's basic thermodynamics.

It's the same reason that those compressed air canisters get cold when you use them for a while.

Anonymous said...

supernaturally strong diaphragm

Doesn't Power Girl have one of those?

Scipio said...

"given that his entire cellular structure is built around shuffling energy around, he defuses the heat almost immediately"

Hmm. There's lot hidden in that sentence, Brian!

That's not too far off from putting "and then a miracle occurs" in the middle of an equation, is it...?

Brian said...

I don't think it quite racks up with "and then a miracle occurs" level. I thought it was generally understood that the Kryptonian cellular structure is built to absorb solar energy of a certain frequency. This evolved to counter the harsh environment of Krypton. Under Earth's yellow, more energetic sun, that system kicks into overdrive and gives us the Kryptonian smorgasbord. However, once that energy is absorbed, it has to be stored in some non-photonic (chemical?) form, or else Clark would, well, glow. Which would kind of make maintaining a secret identity hard.

Further, the energy doesn't seem to be decentralized. I mean, it's not like the power used for heat vision is stored in his eyes, while the strength energy is stored in his muscles. The logical conclusion (all hail mighty Occam) is that his cells operate as a sort of network battery, storing all his energy everywhere, and moving it around as necessary (evidence: when Superboy Prime gets sunlight on his hand and suddenly has all his powers back).

So remember the first rule of physics: energy is energy is energy. Ignoring the thermodynamic impossibility (Superman can't possibly absorb enough energy from radiant sunlight to generate his powers), then it's gotta be stored somewhere, whether that energy is used to generate heat vision, to negate gravity, or to impart potential energy (lift) heavy things. Heat is just another form of energy, if so low down on the electromagnetic scale that his cells couldn't really do anything with it other than move it around.

P.S. this theory is why the red sunlight operating as an immediate power-shutdown never made sense to me.

Brian said...

And this, dear friends, is why physics majors should not be allowed to read comic books.

*cue 1980's-era end-of-cartoon laugh track*

Scipio said...

"the red sunlight operating as an immediate power-shutdown never made sense to me."

Yeah, that always smells much more like Magic than Science. But they don't seem to be able to let it go, do they?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's a psychosomatic effect. Kryptonians have no powers on Krypton; Krypton has a red sun; ero, under a red sun-ray, I must have no powers. He loses his powers because he believes he does.

Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly (from early 1970s reprints -- even I'm not old enough for the originals, the first use of the super-cold breath had Superman actually sucking down air from the frigid upper atmosphere and then exhaling it at the target. Now, doesn't that make much more sense? :)

Anonymous said...

I'd guess it probably works in a similar way that his "heat vision" was explained in the immediate post-Crisis world. It was said that he has "pyrokinesis", a mental ability to create heat, apparently by speeding up the molecular action of the air, which manifests itself in a red glow from his eyes. Perhaps the "freezy-breath" works in reverse; he telekinetically slows down the molecular action of the air. He exhales to "trigger" this effect because even he doesn't understand how it really works.

Or, as Micky Moran said in an issue of Miracleman: "Superbreath??"

Jack Norris said...

"Only Clark Kent would apologize for getting buried under rubble."

Just imagine what he'd be like if his ship had crashed in Canada* instead of Kansas! Ba-DUM-Pum!

*Probably Saskatchewan.

In fact, how about a whole dumb Elseworlds-y Canadian Superman thing where he grows up in Smalljaw Saskatchewan and moves to Torontopolis to become a reporter...

Okay, maybe not.

Jacob T. Levy said...

Huh-- musta missed a Superbook, because 'freezy breath' doesn't show up in either Superman or B&B.

Scipio said...

Freezy breath is in Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century.

Jacob T. Levy said...

Ah-- the Best Book I Probably Didn't Buy This Week.

Anonymous said...

I like Slam Bradley's foe; who is he?

Well, the color scheme, age, and aditude seem to be that of Billy Numerous, a minor villain from the Teen Titans cartoon show.

Costumes a little different, but it's far closer then Multiplex. I could also see Billy Numerous carrying a safe out of a building like that, essentially out in the open.

Anonymous said...

My God... the "robot polka" thing was from Hercules. The INCREDIBLE Hercules. A MARVEL comic.

Is... Is that allowed, here?

I'm scared.

Anonymous said...

Something that's been bugging me about Salvation Run.

Why are Joker and Luthor in charge of these groups?

I mean, I can almost see Luthor. But if you're the Joker and your power is being crazy and evil and there's other people there who are just as crazy and evil and also pull out pieces of your spine with their thumbs, it doesn't quite work.

See also people being scared of Deadshot.

Scipio said...

"My God... the "robot polka" thing was from Hercules. The INCREDIBLE Hercules. A MARVEL comic."

I subscribe to Incredible Hercules. A book about a classical Greek demigod, written by Fred Van Lente of "Action Philosophers"?

Heck YEAH I subscribe to that Marvel comic.

Anonymous said...

I also remember Wally West always jonesing for a raise and overtime pay when he was in the Justice League Europe.

SallyP said...

I did NOT immediately catch the cleverness of Superman's Kryptonite fact I was more or less thinking to myself the same thing that Megistus was...and then of course, it turned out that Superman was using his BRAINS! That pleased me to no end.

I blush to admit this, but Hercules was fabulous.

Poor Wally. But watching Jay get peeved was worth it.

Anonymous said...

I figured that Superman and Ultraman had traded costumes, and "Superman" was just faking the effects of kryptonite poisoning. I blew it.

Anonymous said...

To Scipio:

Speaking of sweet octopus love, I just saw this article:

I guess I never should have doubted you.

Anonymous said...

"Artic Alexandria"

ooooOOOOoooo0000oooo !!!
MUST you do that???

Anonymous said...

"he defuses the heat "

Oh now don't YOU start too!

David page said...

A certain ace attourney is already on to Dc for the contradictions appearing in countdown to final crisis 2

Scott said...

"red sunlight operating as an immediate power-shutdown never made sense to me"

Me, either. I think the current explanation is that being hit by light of the wavelength mix typified by red sunlight sets his whole solar-based metabolism into 'power save' mode, preventing him from using any solar energy on his powers even though he might have plenty of energy still stored in his cells. The mere *absence* of sunlight doesn't do this, explaining his powers working at night.

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